3PAR storage class memory Intel Optane

Discover Storage News Wrap Up

Last week at HPE Discover there was a series of storage announcements for the 3PAR and Nimble platform plus more. In this post we will run through the announcements.

Storage Class Memory

3PAR storage class memory Intel Optane

Storage class memory has been announced for 3PAR and Nimble. Storage Class Memory memory (SCM) was intended to bridge the gap between DRAM and NAND flash found in current generation SSD’s. DRAM is fast memory but does not scale and is expensive, NAND flash does scale but does not deliver the same performance. Intel have developed their Optane product which sits in this middle ground of performance and cost between SSD and NAND flash.

The Intel Optane device will be NVMe connected and act as an extension to the onboard controller cache. Other vendors such as Pure have added NVMe drives into the system but HPE have focused on adding the NVMe storage within the controller as they believe that the key bottleneck in flash systems is at the controller level and not disk. The additional cache creates quicker response times and also reduces the  load on back end disks as the amount of IO served served here is reduced. Phillip Sellers has written an in-depth piece looking at the addition of SCM to Nimble and 3PAR.

InfoSight

There was a number of announcements around the InfoSight platform.  First up was 3PAR performance insights which allows a performance view of not only your storage but also the VMware layer. We’ve discussed this in detail previously including how to implement it, but in short this is free for customers and allows deep insights into your VMware environment such as being able to find VMs with the highest resource utilisation.

The Nimble storage platform also benefited from a couple of InfoSight enhancements. Nimble Resource planner allows load modelling. As a storage admin I really like the sound of this as so often we don’t know what the impact of an additional workload will be until it’s deployed. The modelling software predicts the impact both in terms of performance and capacity, below is an example of running through this

Choosing workload to model

Nimble resource planner1

Impact on capacity is modelled 

Nimble resource planner 2

Also modelled is the impact on CPU and cache

Nimble resource planner 4

Nimble cross stack analytics brings enhancements to the performance recommendations already delivered by InfoSight. The focus of this new feature is bring specific AI driven recommendations to the environment. An example of the type of recommendation is shown in the screenshot below

Nimble cross stack analytics

The InfoSight product is still owned by the storage segment of HPE but its expansion into other products is continuing at a pace. One of HPE’s key objective is to deliver a cloud like experience and make things consumable as services. InfoSight is a key part of this strategy ensuring uptime and proactive recommendations to the environment to eliminate issues before they occur.

You can see a summary of the InfoSight announcements in this chalk talk

Nimble Peer Persistence

Synchronous replication was added as a feature to the Nimble storage platform. The feature is being called Peer Persistence since HPE are also introducing support for metro clusters at the same time. I have covered Peer Persistence in-depth previously for 3PAR, it essentially allows for the creation of stretched cluster across geographically separate data centres. The Nimble implementation of Peer Persistence will initially support metro clusters for SQL and VMware.

Cloud Volumes Enhancements

Nimble Cloud Volumes were announced a couple of years ago. These cloud volumes offer block storage with the maturity and depth of services you would expect to see on premise for cloud. Announced this time round was the support of containerized workloads using both Docker and Kubernetes.  Also announced was extended regional support so cloud volumes will be available for the UK and Ireland in 2019.

Cohesity

HPE have also enhanced their relationship with secondary data platform Cohesity. Cohesity is available bundled with Proliant Gen10 servers through HPE partners.  These validated Cohesity and HPE bundles have added support for HPE Apollo and HPE DL380 servers

You can see a further summary of announcements in this blog post from Calvin Zito

 

HPE Discover Madrid

HPE Discover this week!

 

HPE Discover Madrid

This week sees the HPE Discover Event take place in Madrid, Spain. If the event is new to you can think of it as HPE’s largest annual trade show. This is generally where all the big announcements are made. I am lucky enough to be attending as a guest blogger so will be looking to get more info on the storage and all other news.

Ways to follow along

  • If you are attending be sure to attend the spotlight storage session – Intelligent storage has arrived. Unlock insights from your data. You can see further storage sessions recommended on the Around the Storage Block blog
  • On social media using the #HPEDiscover tag
  • You can see the keynotes broadcast live at the HPE Discover home page
  • You can follow the other independent bloggers using this Twitter list and follow the chat online using #hpediscover
  • Of course you can follow along on d8tadude.com, and subscribe to e-mail updates
  • Also make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel, where I will be chatting to those in the know and bringing the latest news
3PAR Saturation

3PAR SSMC 3.4 – What’s New ?

HPE have just released SSMC 3.4, it looks like a small update, but it brings a big change and many new features. Therefore, I would say the right Version should be 4.0.

This guest post is brought to you by Armin Kerl, if you fancy trying you hand at blogging check out our guest posting opportunities.

What’s New in SSMC 3.4?

The key new features in SSMC are:

  • Appliance Deployment – Now a Linux based appliance VM
  • New Setup Sizing Guidelines – Small, large or medium deployments available depending on the number of 3PAR systems you are managing
  • InfoSight Integration – Tighter integration with InfoSight
  • Performance Analytics – Includes simplified reporting indicating if system is overstretched or performing well
  • Replication – Enhancements to management

Let us get a deeper look at the new features:

Download SSMC

To get the latest 3.4 version of SSMC you can download it from the HPE Software Depot. Once downloaded you will find an ISO with the name format HPESSMC-.iso. When you mount the ISO you will find the appliance image file in there HPE_SSMC__VMware_Image plus the migration tool (HPE_SSMC__Migration_Tool) which will allow you to migrate your current settings to the new appliance.

SSMC Appliance

In the Past, we installed the SSMC as a service on an existing Windows or Linux Host, now it is a standalone Linux based appliance. Today supported operating systems to run the appliance on are VMware ESXi version 6.0, 6.5, 6.7 or Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 or 2016. The 3PAR OS can be 3.2.1, 3.2.2 or 3.3.1.

SSMC Deployment

During the Deployment you can choose the initial settings like IP address and you can choose between three Sizing Options:

SSMC 3.4 Deployment

Small

Use the Small deployment option to manage up to 8 arrays and 128K objects. This deployment needs 4 vCPUs, 16GB memory and min 500GB Disk Space.

Medium

With the Medium deployment option, you can manage up to 16 arrays and 256K objects. This deployment needs 8 vCPUs and 32GB memory and min 500GB Disk Space.

Large

The large deployment option allows management of up to 32 arrays and 500K objects. This deployment needs 16 vCPUs and 32GB memory and min 500GB Disk Space.

SSMC Migration

If you are already running SSMC 3.2 or 3.3, you can use the migration tool contained in the SSMC ISO, install it on the same host where the older SSMC is installed and migrate the configuration to the new appliance.

The Text-based User Interface (TUI)

Once the SSMC appliance has been deployed using the initial setup wizard you make any further configuration changes through the The Text-based User Interface (TUI).  To access the TUI you will open the console of the SSMC appliance and logon with the username ssmcadmin.  You can find the password for the ssmcadmin account on page 55 of the Admin Guide.

The Text-based User Interface (TUI) used to manage SSMC appliance

InfoSight Integration

If configured, The SSMC is now able to pull information from HPE InfoSight back into the SSMC Console.This brings you advanced system performance and reporting analytics into The SSMC. You have to enable it in SSMC “Global Settings > Application” and enable InfoSight, as described in a previously in  Configuring 3PAR with InfoSight.

SSMC Global Settings

Performance Analytics

In the past, we were able to get a lot of Performance Information from 3PAR Storage – how many IOPS, MB/s, latency, for disks, volumes, groups, HBA etc. but you needed specialist skills to interpret the values. A common question was are these performance values good or bad.

Now InfoSight and SSMC calculate saturation levels and headroom availability with respect to throughput and shows it on easy to interpret graphs. This can be done in Real-time, because analytics from InfoSight are now built inside SSMC. New Statistical models detect hotspots, saturation and a lot more. Thanks to the connection with InfoSight, it is also showing “How is my 3PAR performing against other similar Systems in the whole World”.

To see this, add the new Panels to your Dashboard or use the new Dropdown Menu “Analytics” on the System Page.

3PAR Saturation

There is also a new “Advanced Analytics” category in the System Reporter.

SSMC 3.4 Advanced Analytics

Initially all the analytics features will only work with all-flash (SSD only) arrays.

Replication

There are also some enhancement for Synchronous Data & File Persona Replication Configuration and management.

SSMC Documentation

The following new manuals are available for SSMC 3.4

Admin Guide

Release Notes

User Guide